Angelina had lived through more by age 8 than most people will experience during their entire lives. Growing up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, she lost both of her parents, then lost her 23-year-old brother shortly afterward in a construction accident.
Orphaned and alone, the young girl moved in with her 70-year-old grandmother, whose ability to care for Angelina was severely limited by her disability, by her monthly pension of just $80, and by her tiny Soviet-era apartment.
In this bleak situation, Angelina’s spirit has become a ray of light. Where does her inspiration come from? In part from the unwavering support of Federation partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
Since JDC’s return to Uzbekistan in 1988, the global organization has assisted thousands of Jews facing overwhelming challenges like Angelina and her grandmother.
JDC’s network of more than 170 Hesed social welfare centers throughout the former Soviet Union serve hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Jews. They provide food, clothing, medicine, counseling, heat and home care as well as psychological and educational services for children, including those with special needs.
Uncovering a Ray of Light
Angelina was immobilized by grief until JDC provided her with free counseling services. And they made her grandmother’s cramped apartment a little more livable by providing basic needs, like heating in the winter. With this support, Angelina’s spark began to shine a little brighter. She’s now an A student in math with an incredible resilience that’s helping her succeed against the odds, each and every day.